Wednesday, October 06, 2004

“Requiescat in Pace.”

2nd November 2002; All Souls Day - Found from a Notebook
13:36 GMT, Saturday
My Original Ancestral Room and Table

It’s really very easy to fall asleep after a warm and hearty meal, coupled with the equally draining trek through the only-recently remembered graves of our faithfully departed. I already feel my eyes drooping under the weight of the circumstances, but I steel my hands from flailing now for there will never be a clearer moment, not now while they still softly simmer in my pot of memories. How dare I fall asleep when my own history is upon me? I will have none of that!

As one of the only scribes to detail my fading past, I literally take up this duty to record the last vestiges of my sanguine heritage. My elders are growing more feeble as we speak. Very soon they will no longer be heard, and my precious lore will forever remain a dream. This is the stuff of my very own kin, the forebears of my fiery blood. I will not, I dare not forget them.

Just why I’m so worked up right now are caused by two consequential things; the former being more physically linked. Caffeine. Fortunately for me, it still does wonders to the dulling mind. The latter, of course, is the obvious and stupid fact that I only started now. I should have jostled to listen to their stories long ago, when they were stronger.

Thus, I will attempt to recount what remaining data I have on my elder’s elders. We’re family all the way. The only peculiar thing about this, is that I found and dug up all these fascinating stories at the least expected place: the cemetery.

That is correct. The cemeteries of my parents’ clans gave me more insight into our beloved dead. This is one of the few places left on earth where I will throw kudos to the Roman Catholic dogma. At least this ritual has proven to have some practical use, and truths. Dead men DO tell tales. It just takes a kindred spirit to write it for them.

Naturally, it stirs a great deal of excitement within me as well; this being my only chance with this privilege. I will do my best to remain as sincere and faithful to the fact, and be true to the memories they would’ve wanted to be shared. All of these will be a bit romanticized in a sense, for what is a family without passion and zest? I am a scion come from their very blood, after all. They deserve this kind of posterity, finally.

Natividad Medalla y Obispo
Fallacio en 1949 de edad 69

This stead is great indeed. Like a sprawling imperial galleon with huge riggings and multiple masts, it dwarfs the surrounding tombs with nonchalant ease. My great grandmother. She was the aging maiden aunt of my mother’s father. Or almost. I never even realized she existed, until now. I asked my dad, who was lighting a candle at the base of her grave. My mom and her elder sister were at the far end, clearing away the debris from years of people passing through. Her spot was almost four times as wide as the normal grave, and her headstone loomed taller than three tombs piled atop each other.

My father says that she was a rich haciendera of the northern lands of Leyte. Her family had numerous businesses there. As she was single then, the task of supervising the plantations fell upon her. This was approximately during the turn of the 20th century, and transportation was mainly still by carriage or by boat. The manor house was situated in the heart of the city then, and it took half the morning to get across.

Fate would see to it that certain storms were to endanger her life and limb on a sea-faring voyage once. Her driver and boatman, her so-called man servant then, would ultimately save her from drowning. Back then, traditional Spanish beliefs about marriage and courtship still mattered, and it would weigh heavily upon her honor since any man who had seen a woman’s ankles or legs would as good as take her. Severely purist as was the norm then, and she couldn’t dare disobey.

And how. For the man had held her body and kept her head above water when their boat capsized. The boatman had not only seen her ankles, but touched her whole body in the act of saving her. She was thrashing about madly, and he had no choice but to hold her.

Funny how the customs can break up a family’s wealth. Thus they were married, and great grandmother “Nating” would take the name Medalla. Even though they were too old to have children, the former coachman was much too unaccustomed to his sudden great fortune. Unfortunately, he turned out to be quite the terrible gambler, and as his losses mounted, he proceeded to squander vast tracts of land to pay as collateral for his ruined gambits.

The area which is now a bustling commercial zone was reported sold by my great granduncle for a paltry sum of 40 pesos. The owners are Chinese now, and all for a bet in cock-fighting. The huge manor house is also gone of course, replaced by a concrete building today, another owner, another generation. My grandfather had only one other sibling, and she herself did not marry for fear the same mistake. Agapito and Victoria, my grandfather and grand aunt. Both entirely different stories on their own. Both gone from this earth. I must find out more about them. Yes, on another page perhaps, another time, at another piece of history I might gather from my other surviving elders. There is too much to know, but too little time. So soon will the cycle renew itself, and I will be one with them again, all too soon.

Till then I must live.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Meeting at Night: Trees

An hour to midnight.

Two people watch each other intently.
Total strangers, yet drawn by strangeness.
Exchanging glances, both gentle and probing, alert.
Delirious to some degree, purposely waiting, hoping for midnight.

The full moon swells in proud silence.
Water touches the sand,
like a lover running smoothly back and forth in the slight breeze,
leaving wet kisses now and then.
Her feet slowly carry her to the shore.

Her nakedness seemed so perfect, so pure.
As if goddesses were easy to find.
The smoothness of her thighs, the supple breasts.
The glistening beads of water on her hair.
He was already in the water, this beautiful man.
She came to him because he had such sweet smiling eyes,
like nothing could go wrong.

They splashed about, their laughter echoing into the night,
breaking the stillness.
They frolicked and swam, unmindful of the trees.
The island was theirs, at least for the night.
It was then that he drew her close, anxiously.
She offered no resistance, feeling his nakedness beneath the water.
And she was actually welcoming it, her breath rife with her feelings.
What is this desire, she thought in disbelief.

It was edging to devour her, making her heart jump.
They kissed, like lovers separated by time, mad, wanton and reckless.
They caressed each other, each touch leaving fire in its wake.
They could stand it no longer.

And the sea seethed with their excitement.

Where did the moon go?
It starts to pour, and the wind howls from nowhere.
The water is angry now, the sand in mute witness.
But they were madder still.
They could not stop, and the leaves were shaking, swaying frantically.
They would not stop.
Until finally, jagged bolts of lightning rip across the night sky.

Ah, soft, steady, pouring rain.

Sunday, June 27, 2004

Words to the First

"Greetings once again, unknown eye or curious kin. It has been many arrogant years since I last set out to solidify my scattered thoughts. I have changed, that is true. But to what degree, I can almost always never tell.

As of writing this, the first score and three will have come. Fanciful folly and blind pride are to have supposedly left me, and that some slither of wisdom should now be mercifully at my command.

Ah, but dreams are still dreams. My eyes are fogged now, that is the only reality. I remember telling you that I started this book with ridiculously high hopes yet meager means to back it up. I was a fool then, as I am now. A written fool.

As I reviewed the brothers of this book, I can only think of the severe words that constructed me as an individual, of being outrageously extroverted offhand, but a catastrophic divide on the mental plane. My semantic experiments have taken me far beyond my own comprehension. I have tried many tongues on paper, accrued and attentuated many curses and rantings, attacked the unobstrusive and unheeding with my extradited dogma, and traveled many lifetimes to conceal what I have come to destroy.

And then, there is also the issue of my identity. For in our everydays, I feel we all change in some way, somehow, for something.. as a reaction of our consciousness.

Am I still even me? How will I begin to describe myself now? It's all confounding, to be brief. We only really know until we're far removed from it. Some good years away perhaps, and I will begin to reconstruct and evaluate my prose in reference to my character, and how life generally flowed around my words.

So, as usual, I must invite you to join me in the journey of finding myself. You will be more keen to find my flaws so that I might see, to help me steel my heart and mind from pain. This will be my only mirror.

The other sides of my complexity must also be considered if any worthy assessment is to be made. Here lies the dealings I have with other mortals in my sphere of interaction, including excerpts of our garbled conversations. A test to see how others react to my musings. This brand will be found most interesting, I hope.

Although I have suffered the terrible misfortune of losing a complete volume to the wind, it gives me great pleasure and relief that I have managed to salvage parts of my manuscript from its holdings.

Finally, it is with deepest pride that I welcome you once more into my mind, as we dive into the balderdash and the spindles of my yesterdays, todays, and tomorrow's promise."

Yours in freeverse,

IL Martello